“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby yea are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:29-32
Today’s Christian daily devotional
I’m a very private person. I have learned the hard way, that the less people know about you the less they have to gossip about. So, for many years I built a protective little shell for myself, feeling quite comfortable dealing with the cruelties of the world—my way.
Then, I had a radical experience with God. It was such a life altering salvation that it turned my whole world upside down. Of course, I was fine with keeping this part private; my story was beyond humbling and embarrassing–to say the least!
After walking with God for a while, allowing him to heal my broken heart and helping me to make the necessary changes in my life; I felt Him urging me to open up and share my story. It was hard to do, but with His help, I authored my first book: “Breaking Free From Demonic Forces” By: Julia Shalom Jordan.
Coming to terms with what had happened and sharing it with the world was more than a stretch for a person like me—it was equivalent to landing on the moon!
But, that’s not exactly where my journey of healing and deliverance ended. In fact this was only the beginning.
A friend had mentioned that I should join Facebook. In fact, many friends had mentioned it. But, with my shameful past and the experience of being fodder for gossip, I was quick to shut that idea down. Why should I bother thrusting the door of my life open life sharing my horrifically humiliating story with old friends and complete strangers? Writing a book was one thing; Facebook felt much more personal.
But, kind friends kept urging me. So, I prayed about it. After submitting myself God, I felt that this was what He wanted me to do. So, I hunkered down and opened up an account.
As I filled out my profile information, I stumbled across the “Religious beliefs” section of the form. I kept vacillating back and forth where I stood on this issue.
One of the hardest parts of receiving Jesus as my Savior was the fact that I would now have to deal with the label that came with Christ. I would now have to embrace being called a Christian. Technically, I was one…but…
Sad to say, I wasn’t drawn to this title at all. I was actually repelled by it.
If someone were to just utter the word Christian, my initial knee-jerk reaction would be to look for the first fake smile and head for the nearest exit.
This general conclusion came after years of personal experience and heartache in church circles.
Thankfully, despite my deeply rooted painful association, when I went searching for the truth of God, I did not close my heart to Christ despite what His people had done to tarnish His reputation.
When I asked Jesus into my heart, He propelled me into a whole new freedom–in so many ways.
It was really hard for me to embrace the fact that I now felt as if I had to climb into that anal-retentive box, labeled: ‘Christian’. I now must associate myself with the very term and people who had actually pushed me away from my search for God.
Labels restrict and confine. For the first time in my life I felt freedom. And ironically, I also felt intense restriction– from the name that came with my freedom. It was a dichotomy that was confusing to say the least.
So, this brings us to a basic question: What is a ‘Christian’, exactly? I liken the word Christian to another noun: ice cream. Think about it, there are so many different varieties of flavors and textures.
In my opinion, I saw the Charismatics as Banana Supreme. The Southern Baptists’ as Rocky Road and the Catholics felt like soft serve Vanilla—without the flecks of vanilla bean, of course!
But, Biblically speaking, the term Christian is simply this: A person who follows Christ. One who allows Christ to reside in his or her heart, spirit and soul.
The labels we have embraced are only labels that man has invented. In the eyes of God there are two varieties of people: Those who follow Christ and those who do not.
The saddest part of my walk with God and the reason for so much hate and confusion in the church world is this: Many people claim to be a Christian but DO NOT have the Spirit of Christ living within their hearts.
So often, these folk spew hatred and blasphemies that are contrary to the word and gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of this, I almost turned my back on the only relationship that has restored every broken area of my life: My personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
My heart sinks when I see the way Christians are presented in the world. And, sadly the way they treat, judge and condemn each other. The face of Christianity is far removed from the mission that Christ died for.
He died for the sins of the world. He died for the liar, the cheater, the sexually impure, the murderer and the blasphemer. He died for the poorest of the poor and the vilest of the vile. He died for each and every one of us: ugly, broken and wicked to the core.
Many Christians seem to forget that we all have the Spirit of Christ living within us. And, some of us need more work, patience and prayer than others.
But, at the end of the day, we must ask ourselves as believers if we are taking the time to edify and encourage our brothers and sisters in the faith. Or, are we condemning? Are we helping to turn hearts cold towards the community that was created to restore, not destroy?
If people wanted their hearts to be broken and their hope destroyed they would simply have to step outside any busy urban street for five minutes.
The sanctuary of God’s people is a sacred place. It was created for healing, restoration, encouragement, instruction, gentle correction and love.
As a Christian, are you defiling God’s house? Are you hurting Jesus’ good name? Are you really walking in the love that Christ instructed all of us to do?
What taste does your Christianity leave in the mouths of people that have experienced you?
It is a big responsibility to be a Christian. The world is watching you because you claim to have the Spirit of Christ living within. Are they seeing Him or are they seeing YOU?
“Dear Heavenly Father,
After receiving Christ in my heart I have enjoyed countless benefits and blessings. In the midst of your goodness and generosity, I have forgotten that there is a responsibility that comes with carrying the name of Christ.
Jesus’ made every Christian’s mission in life plain and clear: To tell all I know about why He died on the cross and to show the love of God to others in my daily life.
Many of those people will be unbelievers. But, I must not forget that Christians need encouragement as well. The world can be a harsh and cruel place for those who make a stand for God.
Help me to really treat others as I would like to be treated. I want to be a good listener, supportive encourager and provide gentle correction. Help me to do this without having a judgmental heart. Give me a heart that wants to grow in the Lord together with others. As Christians, we can encourage each other by being honest about our faults and praying for each other.
In this community, there should be no place for gossip, jealousy or competitiveness. In the name of Jesus I bind and break each one of these demonic spirits that are working through the church and God’s people today. This is hampering our witness to a hurting and dying world.
We must be the salt and light. Help us to keep this in mind. We can all go higher if we see our higher calling. Show us, Lord. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.”
Thank you for reading today’s Christian daily devotional on verses:
Please check back and see what we have for you tomorrow!
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan
*I dedicate this devotional to Mary Andrews. She has encouraged me and strengthened me in such a gentle and loving fashion. It’s true what they say: “There’s SOMETHING about Mary”!
To learn more about Mary and her story of healing check out: http://www.exchangedlivesministries.com/